Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Giant 3-D Printed Bridge (with Graffiti)

    My newest piece of terrain -- a large, stone bridge with brick sidewalks and an asphalt road atop it
This is probably the largest piece of terrain that I have ever assembled and painted. It is a 3-D printed bridge that I purchased from my friend Rusty Parker of Jarl's Workshop ( I first saw it at Drums at the Rapids a couple years ago. I was sorely tempted to buy it then, but my cheapskate nature had me hold off. By the time that Advance the Colors rolled around five months later, I told him that I wanted it. I bought it and there it sat in my closet for nearly a year.

Nearly a yard long, this 3-D printed bridge from Jarls Workshop is the biggest terrain piece I've made
Recently, I pulled it out determined to get it completed and use it in a game. The first step was to glue its seven pieces together. I used superglue and assembled and was pleased how it kind of "locked together" tightly. You can see some gaps here and there, but for the most part, it fits together very nicely. I did add a couple thin pieces of styrene to cover a couple gaps, but otherwise, there were no modifications to the bridge as purchased from Rusty.

    Multiple layers of spray paint, washes, dry brushing, and another final wash color its golden stones
My next decision was to decide on a color scheme. I decided that I wanted to yellowish-golden colored stone. I scoured the aisles of the local Menards home improvement store, and found a nice khaki colored primer. First, I sprayed two coats on it while it was upside down. After drying, I did the same with it standing upright. The next step was to take a more golden toned khaki color craft paint and water it down so that it could be used as a wash. I slathered it on a couple times and was really happy how it settled into the crevices in the stone.

    Two of my street gangs taunt each other from opposite sides of the river, daring the other to cross
The next step was to take another craft paint, a light tan stone color, and use it as a dry brush to highlight the pieces. I used the largest flat brush I own and would probably say this was the fastest and easiest step to do. Once dry, it was time to work on the sidewalks and road surface atop the bridge. The sidewalks were brick, so I did my usual method. I painted it Iron Wind Metals Red Brown and then dry brushed it Howard Hues Middle East Flesh color. Once that was done, it was time to do the asphalt road surface. I used my second darkest gray color as a base coat. As I was applying it, I noticed that I could see the tiny ridges common in 3-D printed items. I was worried that a dry brush would highlight that and draw attention to it. The road would look unnatural. What to do?

    The top surface of the bridge with its brick sidewalks and "stippled" gray asphalt
I decided to take a somewhat frayed brush and "stipple" it rather than dry brush. I used a medium gray color and stippled the entire length of the road surface. My original thought was that I would do a medium gray coat and a lighter one. However, I was so happy with how the asphalt looked that I decided to keep it as is. Almost done!

    The Santanas have painted their side of the bridge to mark their turf, warning others to "Salir!"
The last step was to give it a brown wash. I have a bottle of seldom-used dark brown "vehicle wash" from Vallejo. I took a plastic container and filled it partly full with water. Then I began squirting in the brown wash until it had a color that I thought would work well. Applying this final brown wash was probably the messiest part of the process. I dripped quite a bit all over my desk and it soaked the paper towels I had laid out to collect the excess that dripped off. After it dried, I examined it and was very happy with how the bridge had turned out. Was I done?, not really!

    Creepy clown logo & threats sprayed onto the bridge's surface warn others they're in Flippo turf!
The final step was to dirty it up with graffiti. I went back and forth whether to paint graffiti on it. I finally decided that the bridge would be used most in my Mean Streets gang warfare games. Next, it may see use in post-apocalyptic games. In both environments, a clean pristine bridge would look out of place, right? So, I Googled images of "graffiti bridge" and saw ones that had way, way too much on it. I went back and forth on how much to do, but decided I the best way would be to start in on it and stop when I thought I had enough. 

    The first graffiti "tag" on the bridge that I painted was the purple & yellow Daos logo
I began with large, colored graffiti-style letters for one of my gangs, the Daos. I then did another set of letters for The Kings. I added it a bleeding eye for the fun of it, and then scrawled various phrases like, "Hate Thy Neighbor" and "Not Your Turf." I did a couple hearts with initials -- one "J.T." for Jenny -- and another a shout-out to the movie, "The Warriors. We'll see if anyone who hasn't read this blog post catches the "Swan + Mercy" Easter egg!

    As my most numerous gang, the Kings are slated to take on a starring role in my upcoming games
Most of the graffiti was based around my painted up gangs, also including the Mohawks and Santanas. Once most areas of the bridge sides had something on it, I called it quits. In "reality," it would probably have more graffiti -- somewhat like the photos I saw on my image searches. However, I didn't want to cover up the beautiful golden stone color of the bridge completely. I figured in this case that less was more. I did one final matte spray coat and the bridge was finally done. The process had been dragged out much more than it should by my two bout of sickness. I accomplished little during that point. In actual, sheer hours put into it, I would say it took less time than a building of similar surface area. 

    Not all gangs got their 'tag' on the bridge, but I tried to cover most -- like the Indianola Mohawks
I think it is an amazing terrain piece. If you like it, contact Rusty of Jarl's Workshop at the above email and pick up one yourself. It is a definite eye candy cornerstone for a tabletop. Those who show up to Cincycon 2024 in less than two weeks will get the first look at it in person. I will be using it as part of my Mean Streets game scheduled for Friday evening. If you want a really close look at it, sign up to play in my game!


  1. That's a monster alright!!! What a fabulous looking bridge!

  2. Thanks, guys! I hope I have some nice pictures from this weekend's game that I am running at Cincycon. That bridge will be a, or an edge piece...ha, ha!

  3. That is massive. Excellent paint job, I really like how it turned out.